February 2012
Blog

February 2012 posts

Patient Appreciation Day Today at Swedish/Issaquah

Today's the day! Or at least one of the many days that fun things are happening at Swedish.

Today is one of our Patient Appreciation days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Swedish/Issaquah.

If you live or work on the Eastside, we hope you'll have a chance to stop by. Our friends at Coho Café will be providing free samples of a heart-healthy dish and two Swedish dieticians will be on-hand to provide heart-healthy eating advice. (But even if you can't come in person, you'll find over 100 tasty heart healthy recipes that are dietitian approved here. If you try one out, come back & share in the comments if you liked it!)

We’re also offering 200 free blood pressure screenings on a first-come-first-serve basis. Free stress-relieving massages will also be given throughout the event.

Speaking of stress, if you're stressed that you can't stop by, you can still participate in the fun online. Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.(Pacific Time), find and tweet the answer of this question to @Swedish:

“What is the American Heart Association recommendation for healthy blood pressure?”

Remember, you need to include "@Swedish" in your tweet so we can see your response! We'll provide the answer at noon, and one person who answers correctly will be randomly selected and awarded a Gene Juarez gift certificate for a 60-minute, stress-relieving massage. (You'll need to be local and willing to pick up the gift card in person - make sure you're following @Swedish on Twitter so we can DM you if you win!).

Traditional and New Technology in Treating Vascular Disease

On a daily basis, we see patients who are seeking treatment for hardening of the arteries, typically in the legs or neck (PAD-peripheral arterial disease); weakening of the main artery in the abdomen (AAA-abdominal aortic aneurysm); and varicose veins. In each case, there are traditional ways of being treated (what we call “Open” Vascular Surgery) as well as innovative alternatives (what we call “Endovascular” Surgery).

How do we arrive at our recommendations and how do you decide what’s best for you?

It helps if your Vascular Surgeon performs both types of procedures rather than just one since s/he can draw on personal experience as well as the results of research, to tailor treatment to your specific needs.

You have to consider the trade-offs between short and long term risks and benefits.

  • For AAA and varicose veins, endovascular techniques have virtually replaced traditional treatment given their low risk of complications and excellent outcomes, and both are well supported by the literature.
  • In PAD – from the carotid arteries in the neck to various arteries in the legs – results of newer technologies are a “mixed bag.”

If you are referred to and seen by a Vascular Surgeon, be sure and discuss traditional and endovascular treatment options before you make your final decision.

KING 5 TV Airs Story about Procedure to Restore Hearing that Features Medical Director of Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery at Swedish

SEATTLE, Feb. 21, 2012 - KING 5 Television (NBC) aired a story on Feb. 20 about a surgical procedure to restore hearing that involved implating a tiny, artificial bone in the inner ear after a woman accidentally punctured her eardrum with a Q-Tip.

Douglas Backous, M.D., medical director of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute's Center for Hearing and Skull Base Surgery, was interviewed for the piece.

To watch the story on KING 5 TV's Web site, click here.

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Diagnosing Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

(Ed. note - As it is heart month, we asked Dr. Rocco Ciocca, Chief of Vascular Surgery, to explain a little more about heart attacks and peripheral artery disease.)

In the last blog we defined a condition known as PAD, which is a constellation of problems related to narrowing of the arteries outside the heart.

PAD, If left untreated, can lead to having a stroke, worsening high blood pressure, difficulty walking, non-healing sores on the legs and feet and in extreme cases gangrene necessitating amputation of the involved body part.

I briefly mentioned how it can be diagnosed and would like to describe that in more detail here.

The great news is that doctors do not need order a bunch of painful or expensive tests to diagnosis PAD. The best and most cost-effective test is a thorough history and physical exam. During that, the health care provider will listen to your symptoms and ask questions about your medical history and your risk factors.

The major risk factors for PAD are:

  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • high cholesterol levels

Sweet Dreams?

Sleep is just as important to child development as a healthy diet and exercise, although it is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of a child’s life.

As adults, most of us can mutter through on little sleep for a day or so before we get unbearably grumpy, but with kids, their bodies are growing and connecting neurons in the brain all the time. Sleep is absolutely critical for healthy development.

While they sleep their brains are processing and sorting everything they learned that day, and that’s not just the stuff they learned at school; their bodies are honing their fine motor skills and processing the social interactions of the day.

To make sure your child is getting the proper amount of quality sleep, here are some tips:

After Three Years of Operating Losses, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services to Close

SEATTLE, Feb. 16, 2012 – Today, officials from Swedish Visiting Nurse Services (SVNS) announced plans to close its services effective April 27, 2012. SVNS is a division of Swedish that provides in-home medical services, such as in-home nursing, physical and occupational therapy, infusion therapy, nutritional therapy, and hospice.

Having experienced significant operating losses for three years in a row, SVNS implemented a turnaround plan last June. While that effort resulted in several operational improvements, it was unable to address the underlying problems with the SVNS business model: a high wage and benefits structure, productivity issues and overtime costs combined with low reimbursement from commercial payers. SVNS was projected to lose $12 million in 2012, which would put its total loss since 2009 at $51 million.

“Knowing there are other local agencies available to effectively meet the need for home-health and hospice services in the community, we concluded that the magnitude of losses is unsustainable over the long term and that the only option was to close the service,” said Jon Younger, M.D., medical director for SVNS. “Our priority now is to work with other local agencies to ensure a seamless transition for our patients.”

KING 5 TV Airs Story on New Prescription Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

SEATTLE, Feb. 15, 2012 - KING 5 Television (NBC) aired a story about a new prescription treatment for obstructive sleep apnea called Provent. The two-minute-long piece featured an interview with Sarah Stolz, M.D., medical director of Swedish's Sleep Center.

To watch the story on KING 5 TV's Web site, click here.

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